Friday, February 15, 2013

The New York Post (Ignorantly) Attacks John Galliano

In a previous entry, I mentioned that The New York Post is probably the worst newspaper in the USA.

It is extremely conservative, filled with gossip and often contains unreliable information.  It is published by Rupert Murdoch. 

In fact, a couple months ago I posted an article about how angry many people were that the Post published a photo on its front page of a man who was about to be hit and killed by a New York City subway train. 

Basically, if I see a person reading the NY Post on the subway, I think, "Wow, that person must really be a moron." There are rumors that Murdoch loses millions of dollars publishing the paper but that he doesn't care because the paper gives him a "voice" in the world's most dynamic city.  Unfortunately for Murdoch, every intelligent person in this city seems to be disgusted by his newspaper and probably thinks he is a terrible, hate-filled human being.

In another truly strange story (yes this is the ESL blog for strange stories) the NY Post decided to attack John Galliano for "mocking" Hasidic Jews.  What's an Hasidic Jew?  I explain further down.

It turns out, as you can see from this link, that Galliano was not mocking Hasidic Jews, the NY Post just happens to seem to hate Galliano and wanted to try to destroy his career apparently.

Here's what he looked like:

Here's a Hasidic Rabbi (religious leader) from Brooklyn:

ignorantly - stupidly

The opposite of conservative is liberal.

unreliable - you can't trust it

a moron - the opposite of a genius. I'm guessing that many of the journalists for this "newspaper" are far from geniuses.  Indeed, I wonder why a person would even take a job for a "newspaper" like this.

dynamic - exciting

If you are disgusted by something, it makes you feel sick

to mock - to make fun of someone or something

anti-Semitic - anti-Jewish

schmuck - is a Jewish term for "asshole" or idiot. "Schmuck" literally means a "penis."  What is a penis?  Guys have penises, ladies don't. :P   Actually, the NY Post is such a bad paper that they misspelled "schmuck."

"Jew-bash" - Jew bashing is when someone verbally attacks Jews.  If someone engages in gay-bashing, they are attacking gays.

"..he suffered mightily..." - he suffered a lot

semi-coherent - if you speak coherently, you make sense, or what you say is understandable.  When Galliano attacked a couple Jewish ladies in Paris he was so drunk that he was semi or only partly coherent.  If you listen to what he said on youtube, you can hear that he is very drunk and doesn't always make sense.

a rant - a tirade; if a person makes a rant he speaks angrily about a topic for awhile

rehab - rehabilitation; I guess it's a place where people get fixed up psychologically

to offend someone - to insult or hurt someone with words

"so why would he dig the hole deeper..." - why would he deliberately cause trouble and attack Jews again? Of course, he wouldn't.

birdcage lining - the author of this piece calls the NY Post "birdcage lining."  This means she thinks the only useful function for the NY Post is to use it on the bottom of your birdcage.

an inflammatory article - an article meant to cause a lot of trouble or to make people angry. Inflammatory means something can start on fire easily.

prominent leaders - leaders who are well-known or famous

garb - clothing

dandyish - fancy; a dandy is a guy who dresses fancy

"you fucked up your anti-Jewish charge" - you messed up or ruined your attempt to make him seem anti-Jewish (The ADL is The Anti-Defamation League, a very powerful Jewish organization that attacks people who attack Jewish people.  So this author is pointing out that the ADL is even saying that the NY Post is wrong.)

a distortion - something inaccurate

eccentric - strange

to atone for something wrong - to make up for something that a person did which was wrong
1) Do you think the NY Post made a mistake, or do you think they knew he was not "mocking" Jewish people?

There are lots of Hasidic Jews in New York City.  Here's a chapter from my book that deals with Hasidic Jews.
New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway
(definitions of boldface terms are under the reading passage)

Chapter 4: They are not magicians, they are Jewish folks

You're going to see them and you're going to wonder who the heck they are.  Every foreign student goes through this so let me tell you right off the bat.  There is no escaping seeing them, especially if you live in certain parts of Brooklyn.  The guys are the most recognizable.  The older guys have big, bushy white beards, wear black fedora hats and dark blue or black jackets regardless of how hot the weather is.  They also have long, and I mean really long, sideburns that curl and dangle from the sides of their heads.

My Japanese friend Naoko and I were chatting in a Starbucks and when one of these guys passed by she asked me: "Who the heck are these guys in the black coats and old fashioned hats with the big bushy beards and long curly sideburns?"  I asked her, "Who do you think they are?"  After some time she responded, "Are they circus magicians? I can't understand why there are so many circus magicians in New York City!"  No, Naoko, these are Jewish folks, but a special type of Jewish folk.  Let me explain.

Basically, you've got three types of Jewish folks in the USA.  World-wide there are about 13 million Jews and about 6 million live in the USA.  The three types of Jews are broken down into 3 basic groups:  Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews.

Orthodox Jews believe that at one time in history God gave the leader Moses various holy texts.  These texts make up a big chunk of the Bible.  So, basically, orthodox Jews believe that God wrote the Bible.  So they follow all the stuff written in the Bible closely.  The guys with the black hats are orthodox Jews and they wear the long sideburns because apparently somewhere in the Bible it says guys shouldn't shave the sides of their heads.

But it’s a little more complex than that.  In New York you'll see, basically, two types of orthodox Jews.  The guys are always more easily recognized.  One type of orthodox Jewish guy will wear a little round cap on the top of his head.  This is called a yah-mah-kah (but it's spelled yarmulka).  From what a Jewish guy told me, in the old days, folks believed that God was in the sky and looking down at people.  So the guys wear this because they don't want God to see the tops of their heads; that would be disrespectful.  A Shanghainese girlfriend of mine who is kind of a smartass once said, "Oh, if they wear the hats so God can see them, why don't they write: 'Hello God!' or 'Hey, do you really exist?' on the tops of their yarmulkas."  Ha ha ha - not funny.  This is somebody's religion goddamn it!

I don’t know whether what the Jewish guy told me was true or not, though.  Why don’t the women wear yarmulkas?  Someone else, however, told me that some orthodox women do cover their heads by wearing wigs (a wig is a covering of hair that can be worn over your normal hair.) Oh!  I was also told that orthodox Jewish folks don’t even use the term God – they use the term “Hashem,” which means “the Name” instead of the term God. 

Then there are the really, really orthodox Jewish folks and those guys wear the black hats, coats, beards and sideburns.  They are called Hasidic Jews.  I think of them as super orthodox.  Basically, their version of Judaism began in Eastern Europe in the 1700s, primarily in Poland and Ukraine.  From what I can understand, there were groups of Jewish folks who wanted a deeper religious experience and greater connection to God.  These folks became the Hasidic Jews.  They developed a whole new approach to Judaism involving more physical action and more emotion during prayer and a belief that God could be experienced through nature.  They valued emotion more than reason and avoided a type of asceticism that pervades many religions.  This was meant as a religion for the real world.  This was a religion in which a person could derive meaning every single day in his/her life without avoiding life.  It was meant to be a deeper engagement with life, as it exists, so that people could have a deeper connection to God.

Why do you see these guys in NYC and not Houston?  I don't know.  What I do know is that the nazis (God damn them, the lousy scum!) really hated these folks.  They really tried to wipe all of them out in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust.  So there are about 500,000 Hasidic Jews in the world and a big chunk of them live in Brooklyn.  Go to Williamsburg and you'll see them.  The guys are dressed the way guys used to dress in Europe around the time that their religion was formed and all orthodox Jewish women are expected to wear skirts or dresses that go below their knees and they should or even have to wear sleeves that go below their elbows.

Now, I wouldn’t be a good cynic if I didn’t point out that this community has been causing a little controversy lately.  For instance, it looks as if some sexual abuse has occurred in the Hasidic community in New York, and it might have been covered up by the community to avoid a scandal or to avoid investigations of Hasidic Jews by people outside of their community.  Some young men, for instance, have claimed that they were molested while taking ritualistic baths called mikvahs.  What’s even more shocking is that there are claims in the newspapers that victims might have been punished by members of the community (in some way) if they had come forward to complain outside of the community.  What’s even more shocking than this is that the Brooklyn DA (the lawyer who prosecutes those accused of crimes), might have helped in the cover up.  There are so many Hasidic Jews who can vote, it looks as if this politician did not want to offend the whole community and lose votes. He denies this, of course. Here’s some other stuff that isn’t quite as bad, but still pretty bad:

A few Hasidic rabbis seem to have been doing something a bit weird after circumcising male children.  From what I’ve read in the newspapers, some of these rabbis sucked the blood from the cut penis.  Why?  I don’t care why. I refuse to even do research about this one.  In the papers they said these rabbis claimed there was some reason to do this.  I never read about anyone sucking blood from penises in the Bible, however, so I don’t know and I don’t care how anyone might justify this. Apparently a baby caught a disease from a rabbi who sucked blood from that baby’s penis and a judge has ordered this practice to stop. 

There was also a story about how men in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn put signs up throughout their neighborhood reminding women that if they see a man walking in their direction they should step aside for him to pass by more easily.  I know this isn’t as shocking as sucking blood from a baby’s penis, but I suddenly remembered this.  Yes, this is an example of “sexism;” sexism is when men act as if women are inferior to men or sexism is the belief that women do not have as many rights as men.  Racism is when a person from one racial group (for instance “white” people) thinks that people from another group are not as good or do not deserve the same rights.

You know, I guess lots of religions have some problems – the Catholic Church has had chronic problems with “pedophile” priests and it looks as if the Catholic Church in America has covered up a lot of abuses and paid a lot of “hush-money” to victims (people who were hurt). Some people refuse to donate to the Church now because they are afraid their donation will be used as future hush-money.  These scandals are so terrible because many people have sincere religious beliefs and want to be able to trust their children with sincere religious figures who are super moral and great role models. It’s depressing that some religious leaders do such terrible things and even more depressing that others cover this behavior up.  In all honesty, whenever my friends in NY City hear about the Catholic Church, one of them always makes some kind of joke about it.  That’s very sad.  The Catholic Church has kind of become the source of jokes in America these days. Well, they can blame themselves.

Now back to my gossip about Hasidic and orthodox Jewish folks.  There was this huge story in 2011 about an orthodox guy (he seemed to have psychological and cognitive problems – a very low IQ) who kidnapped an 8 year old child, took him home, killed him, and chopped his body up so he could place it in a suitcase and throw it out without being caught.   

Apparently the child was lost and looking for directions home from a summer school.  The Hasidic child unluckily asked this orthodox guy for help – after all, he was wearing a yarmulke so the kid felt he could trust him.  So the guy took the kid into his car but instead of taking the kid to the kid’s home, as he had promised, he drove the kid to a wedding he had been invited to in another neighborhood (area).  Now here’s the weird situation. This odd (strange), not very bright guy shows up to a wedding with an unknown kid, and nobody says anything?

How about: “Who’s the kid?”  Or: “Where the hell did you get that kid from?”  Or: “You freaking nut!  Take that kid home to his parents now!” Or: “What is that kid’s mother’s phone number so we can call her!?”  I don’t understand this.  The papers didn’t seem to make a big deal out of this because I don’t think they wanted to seem anti-othodox or anti-Hasidic, but I think this question needed to be asked.  Did people know at the wedding that he had kidnapped this kid?  What the hell kind of excuse could he have given to people?  Who knows.  Maybe I shouldn’t judge the people at the wedding, but, in light of what happened, I think a lot of people wish someone had asked some questions about this kid at the wedding.

So basically, this was a guy with serious psychological and cognitive problems who then left the wedding and took this kid back to his apartment.  Apparently he was kind of lonely (as well as mentally ill) and saw the kid as a potential friend.  But the Hasidic community is very tightly knit and literally thousands of Hasidic Jews took to the streets looking for this child when the parents reported the child missing to the police.  When this guy learned of the search (on television), he panicked and killed the child.  He did not want to be arrested as a “kidnapper.”  So he killed the child, cut the boy up and tried to hide the body in a suitcase (which he dropped off in a garbage can in another neighborhood). 

So I’m thinking, if anyone at the wedding had asked a few obvious questions and had taken some necessary action, the child might still be alive.  Yes?  No?  I mean I know everyone is preoccupied during a wedding, but lots of people must have seen this little boy with this strange guy. 

The man was apprehended only because the police luckily were able to find videotape from a store’s outside surveillance camera that had accidentally recorded the boy talking to the guy and entering his car.  They caught a glimpse of his license plate number on this tape.  Had this not been caught on tape, this guy might not have been caught.  But the people at the wedding saw the boy and knew the guy didn’t have a child.  Didn’t they? Didn’t they later see the missing child reports on TV?   

In any case, I’m confused by all of this.  The guy got a 40-year prison sentence because he agreed to plead guilty before any trial had to take place.  This was, basically, a plea deal.  The boy’s family did not want to go through the process of a trial because they did not want to see this story in the news again and again during the trial.  It would have been too painful. In any case, there’s some recent information and gossip about orthodox and Hasidic Jewish folks from the papers here.  Again, lots of religions have problems.  When I first wrote this chapter I had nothing but good stuff to say about Hasidic folks.  Lately, however, I’ve seen this stuff in the papers and felt I had to put it down here.

The other types of Jewish folks?  Reform Jews are much more liberal.  They don't think the Bible was written by God.  They acknowledge that people created the Bible throughout differing periods of time.  You usually don't see reform Jews wearing yarmulkas etc.  Conservative Jews developed because there were some Jewish people who didn't like either the orthodox or the reform approaches.  Basically, conservative Jews think that people wrote the Bible but were inspired by God.  This is what I’ve been able to figure out.  You can do some reading on this religion if you wanna.  I just want to explain who the guys with the coats, curly sideburns and hats are so you don’t think they work at a circus when you see them.

Ah!  So then you might ask, What the heck is kosher food?  I see all these kosher delis all over the place?  Well, it looks as if the Bible distinguishes between clean animals which can be eaten and unclean animals that God would like people to avoid eating.  So kosher food is considered clean food by Jewish folks.  For some reason just about any type of fish is considered clean.  Pigs are not considered clean and so orthodox Jews avoid pork.  It looks as if the laws also forbid meat and milk to be combined in a meal.  So orthodox Jews won't eat a sausage pizza or a cheeseburger.  Also, orthodox Jews are not supposed to consume any type of blood.  This is due to the ancient belief that a life force is contained in the blood.  Therefore, when animals are slaughtered, there is a special person who does this and this person literally cuts the throat of the animal so that it has to bleed to death - thereby the meat is drained of blood.  Animal rights activists are kind of pissed about this.  Orthodox Jews say it's a humane way to kill animals, but I'm not so sure about that.  Who knows.

New York City has to be the most diverse place on the planet and you'll see signs and symbols of probably every religion on Earth here.  For instance, Catholics have a holiday in which a priest smears ashes (from a burnt plant) on a person's forehead one day a year to remind everyone of his/her mortality.  This day is called Ash Wednesday.  Naoko was also perplexed (confused) by this.  She said, "Who are these people with the black "x" es on their foreheads?"  Again I asked her who she thought they were and she responded, "I think they all support the same athletic team.  The Mets?  The Yankees?"  No Naoko, they are Catholics celebrating the beginning of a 40 day period of sacrifice leading to the holiday of Easter, when they believe that Jesus rose from the dead.  You'll see lots of differing types of outfits (clothing) to signify membership in differing religions in New York City.  This city has everything.

Definitions of terms

a magician - often works in a circus – he does magic tricks.    He often makes things seem to disappear and reappear.

Who the heck – “heck” is a softer or nicer form of the word “hell.”  Who the hell is he?  Or, who the heck is he? You can use “the hell” or “the heck” to provide extra emphasis to the question “Who is he?”  So if a person really wants to express a strong emotion attached to a question, “the hell” or “the heck” is used.  Who the hell does he think he is?  What the hell happened to my car?  Who the heck ate the sandwich that I had in the fridge?  Why the hell didn’t he tell me he was coming this afternoon?  It is kind of impolite or harsh/rude to say this.  You only say this when you are angry.

right off the bat – immediately.  I am guessing “the bat” refers to a baseball bat – the long, wooden club that is used by a baseball batter to try to hit a baseball.  So if something comes right off the bat, or you see something right off the bat, it is fresh or immediate.

bushy gray beards – if something is bushy it is fluffy, like a bush in a garden or like clouds.  A beard is a type of hair that is grown from a person’s chin.  So a bushy white beard is a fluffy, or big chunk of gray hair growing from a guy’s chin.

a fedora hat – this is an old fashioned hat that you might have seen in some old Hollywood movies.  Old Hollywood detectives often wore fedora hats.

sideburns – this is hair that grows down the side of a man’s face.  In the 1860s there was an American General named General Burnsides who had long hair growing down the sides of his face.  So because there wasn’t a name for this type of hair they turned his name around and called the hair: sideburns.

a text – any written document.

a big chunk – a chunk is a piece of something.

to shave – this is the process of using some type of razor to remove the hair from one’s face or, in the case of some women, from their legs and underarms.

a smartass – this is someone who likes cracking (making) jokes or is often very sarcastic.  This is a somewhat vulgar term. 

Goddamn it!  This is the most common dirty expletive statement.  If you are angry or if something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, you might say or yell: Goddamn it!  This is kind of dirty/vulgar.

asceticism – this is a practice, often among very religious people, of trying to avoid various forms of pleasure.  An ascetic is the opposite of a hedonist.  A hedonist loves and pursues pleasure.  I recently learned that the Russian Orthodox religion values asceticism.  Many people who are devoted to this religion will fast (go without food) for many days during the course of the year.

to pervade – to be found completely throughout some type of system.  If something is pervasive it is all over the place.  Asian people pervade the neighborhood of Flushing New York. Illegal immigrants are pervasive in the New York City restaurant industry.

to derive meaning from – to get some type of meaning or deeper understanding from something.

a nazi – this type of person belonged to a hate-filled political party in Germany in the 1930s and 40s.  I think we all know what a nazi was. 

scum – dirt.  Dirt mixed with bacteria and other germs.  Scum is something you might find in a sewer.  What’s a sewer?  That’s where the water from your toilet goes when you flush your toilet.  If you call a person “a piece of scum” you are saying that that person is really bad; worse than an asshole.  “You piece of asshole scum!” might be a good thing to say to such a person. Yes, when Americans are REALLY angry they combine dirty words: “You mother-fucking, asshole, son-of-a-bitch!” would be an example.

to wipe them out – to completely eliminate them.

The Holocaust – this is what Jewish folks call the attempt by the Nazis to wipe out all the Jews in Europe.

should  is used here but "have to" could also have been used.

sexual abuse – Abuse is a non-countable noun. Abuse is when one or more people cause harm to another person.  Sexual abuse is when one person harms another sexually or to get sexual pleasure.  “To abuse” is the verb form – it is pronounced differently from the noun “abuse.” 

to cover s/t up – to try to hide something that happened.

to molest – to harm or abuse someone sexually.

a ritual – a procedure that is done, often in a religious situation or context.

shocking, to shock s/o – if something is shocking you are surprised by how wrong something is. @_@

The DA – The District Attorney.  This is the person who represents “the people” in courtrooms against those who are criminals. He/she is actually in charge of (the supervisor of) a huge office of lawyers (they work for the people) who go to court to try to convict people who have committed crimes.  If a person is convicted of a crime, he/she is found “guilty” of committing that crime.

to come forward and complain – to come forward means to show yourself or to say something instead of remaining silent.  To complain – I’ve been complaining about a lot of things that I don’t like about NY City.  When you complain, you state something is wrong.

to prosecute – this is what lawyers for the people (the state) try to do in criminal court trials.  A trial is the process in which a judge or jury (usually 12 citizens) tries to determine whether a person committed a crime or not.  The lawyers for the people/state (prosecutors) try to show the judge or jury that the person being tried is “guilty.”  So they “prosecute” this person.  The person on trial also will have a lawyer.  This lawyer will try to “defend” the person who has been accused of being guilty.  He is the defense attorney. In America, if you are too poor to be able to afford an attorney, the state is supposed to give you one.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard that often the attorney a poor person gets usually sucks and doesn’t work that hard to defend the person. It’s common knowledge in America that the more money you have, the better the attorney you can get.  There are many stories about wealthy people who are obviously guilty, but who have expensive lawyers, and who are found not-guilty.

to accuse s/o of s/t – to claim that someone did something wrong.

to deny – to say something didn’t happen.

weird – strange.

to circumcise – this is actually a common medical procedure in America after a male child is born.  Basically they cut off a piece of skin that surrounds the “head” of the child’s penis (his sexual organ). There have been newspaper reports saying that circumcision is actually good for a guy’s future health and there are other studies that say it really doesn’t matter whether a baby is circumcised or not.  In the Jewish religion all male babies have to be circumcised for some type of religious reason.   Ok, sorry again for my cynical, sarcastic attitude, but if God didn’t want the chunk of skin on a guy’s penis, and he needs it to be cut off, why did “He” put it there in the first place!!!!!!  OMG!!!!!!  What if God really wants this chunk of skin on the penis!!!!  OMG!!!!!!

a penis – the guy’s sexual thingee.  A man’s sexual organ.  A woman’s sexual organ is called the vagina.  There are slang or dirty words for “penis” and “vagina” as well.  A guy’s penis can be called a cock or a dick or a prick.  I once heard the term “dinger” used for the male penis, which I thought sounded funny.  The vagina can be called a cunt or a pussy.  Sometimes if you are really angry with a guy you can call him a “dickhead” or a “cocksucker” or “a pussy.”  In this case, calling a guy a pussy means you are calling him a vagina, which means you are implying he is kind of weak.  If a guy doesn’t seem to have the courage to do something, other guys might call him a pussy.  If you are really angry with a woman, you might call her a cunt.  But this is really nasty – most women will get angry if you call them cunts.

to justify s/t – to say, “This is ok!”  or “This is acceptable!”

to catch a disease – catch is the verb used with disease.  I caught a cold yesterday.

a judge – this is the person in charge of a courtroom.  A courtroom is where trials occur.  In America there are criminal trials (where people can be punished by being thrown in jail) and civil trials (where people can be punished by being forced to give money to other people).

chronic – if something is chronic, it happens over and over again.  It doesn’t seem to stop.

pedophilia – this is when some older people only seem to like the idea of having sex with very young people.  It’s a creepy type of mental illness. A person who has this type of mental illness is called a pedophile.

a priest – in the Catholic Church these are the guys who wear the black shirts with the white collars.  They are the ones who operate the churches and say the “masses” or religious services.  There are two types of “Christian” Churches:  Catholic and Protestant.  In Protestant Churches there are no priests – the people who do the services are called “ministers.”  In the Jewish religion, these types of people are called “rabbis.”  Why are Protestant Churches called “Protestant”?  It’s because these churches were created by people who thought the Catholic Church was corrupt.  So they “protested” against the Catholic Church. To protest against something is to say that something is wrong and to try to change the thing which is wrong.

hush money – when you want a child to be quiet, you might say: “Hush!”  So hush money is money that is paid to a victim of a crime to make sure he/she does not come forward and complain.

to donate – to give money or time or effort without expecting anything in return.

a role model – if someone is a role model to children, he shows the type of behavior that a child might adopt or follow.  Actually there are good role models and bad role models for children.

cognitive – cognitive skills are thinking skills.

IQ – Intelligence Quotient.  A measure of a person’s intelligence.  The highest category of intelligence according to the IQ is “genius,” the lowest is “moron.”  If you are angry at a person and think he is stupid, you can call him a moron.  This is kind of a strong insult, however.

to kidnap – to steal a human being.

to chop – to cut into pieces.  A chef usually chops up vegetables to put them into a soup.

bright – this can also mean intelligent.

a nut – a crazy person.

the kid’s mother’s – yes, you can use two ‘s in a row.

anti – if you are anti-something, you are against it or don’t like it.  If you are pro-something you are for it or like it. 

tightly knit – very close together.  If people have a tightly knit relationship, they are super close.

to take to the streets – to go into the streets, usually to protest or to take some type of community action.

to panic – to become very nervous about something and act without thinking.  For example, if you have a child and are at the supermarket, and you turn around and see that your child is not behind you, you might panic and begin running through the store looking for him/her until you find the child.

to be preoccupied – to be really focused on one thing so that you can’t concentrate on other things that are happening.  i.e. “Bob, you are not doing a good job today at work because you seem to be preoccupied about something else.”

to apprehend – to catch.

surveillance cameras – these are cameras meant to record things that happen publicly.

accidentally – not by choice, not deliberately.

to glimpse – to see something briefly.

a license plate – this is something placed on the front and back of American cars so that the car can be identified by the police or by people who witness (see) accidents.  It is usually a combination of letters and numbers.

a sentence – yes, a sentence is usually a grammar term, but in the field of criminal law a sentence also means the period of time a person will go to jail.  For instance, Rod Blagojevich, a corrupt politician from Chicago, was given a 16 year prison sentence this year.  He will be in jail for a long time.

to plead – this is also a legal term.  If a person is brought into a courtroom after being accused of a crime, the judge will say: “How do you plead?”  The defendant (person accused of the crime) can say: “I plead not-guilty” or “I plead guilty.” If the person pleads not guilty, there will be a trial.  Basically, saying: “I plead not-guilty” means “I am not-guilty.”  It’s really old fashioned language.

a trial – this is the process in which a judge or jury tries to determine whether a person is guilty or innocent.  The person accused of a crime can choose to have either a judge or a jury.

a plea deal – there are many, many people who are arrested by the police in America.  Therefore, the court system is overcrowded.  Prosecutors have too many cases to deal with every day.  Therefore, they often try to negotiate with the defense attorney instead of having a trial.  A prosecutor might say, “OK, we have a lot of evidence that your client committed this crime.  If we go to trial, your client will probably be found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in jail by the judge.  However, if your client is willing to plead ‘guilty’ so that we do not have to waste time and money and go to trial, we will ask the judge to show some mercy and to only give your client a 10 year sentence.”  So this is a “plea deal.”  This is a legal term that you’ll see in the newspapers, so you don’t really have to memorize it.  So in the story above, the guy who killed the child and chopped the child up accepted a plea deal for 40 years.  This sounds long but in the prison system in America, if you behave well they often drop (take away) time from your sentence.  So a person with a 40 year sentence might get out in 30 years.  If he had not accepted the plea deal, he might have been found guilty and sentenced to “life” in prison.

a liberal – the opposite of a conservative.  A liberal is supposedly more open-minded and experimental than a conservative and a liberal politician will want to see things change in his/her society whereas a conservative politician usually likes to see things stay the same. In American politics a liberal is usually a Democrat and a Conservative is a Republican.

to be inspired – to be influenced to do something on a very deep level, to be especially motivated by someone or something.

a deli – a little store where sandwiches and other cold-cut meats can be purchased.

to be considered as – to be thought of as.

to consume – in this case: to eat.  A consumer, however, can be a person who buys things.

to slaughter – this means to kill an animal, usually for food. 

to bleed – this means to make the animal lose its blood until it is dead.

to drain – this means to bleed an animal until it does not have any blood left in it.  Of course, you can probably never completely drain an animal of all of its blood. Yes?  No?

to be pissed about something – means to be angry about something.

to smear – to take a substance and rub it against another substance in order to leave a messy mark.  You might smear sun block on your face or body.

mortality – the fact that everything that lives is going to die.  Fuck!

a sacrifice – the act of giving something up in order to get something better.

rise, rose risen – in this case the story goes that Jesus died and then he came back to life – he rose from the dead.

Grammar stuff: The imperative – telling someone to do something

The big problem that foreign students seem to have with the imperative is that they often use a pronoun before the imperative form of the verb.  For instance, You take the garbage out!  No.  It should just be: Take the garbage out.  Or, Please take the garbage out.

Now, nobody likes to take orders.  So unless you are a total asshole, please don’t just tell someone to do something, use “please” before your imperative statement in English.  So basically, don’t use a pronoun and try to use "please" and you’ll be ok.  If a person uses the imperative with you without "please," he’s an asshole. 

Please throw that garbage out before you leave!  Please give me my bag!  Please hand me my coat. 

There are other ways to soften an imperative sentiment or command.  If you want to tell another person you are with that she should cross the street, you can say, “Please cross the street with me.” But that sounds a little silly.  So you can use “let’s.”  Let’s cross the street now!  Let’s get some dinner now!  Let’s go to a movie. 

“Why don’t we…” is very useful.  Why don’t we cross the street now?  Why don’t we get some dinner?  Why don’t we go to a movie?  Please practice this.

Here’s something somewhat related to the imperative.  Foreign students who are studying with native-speakers who have to leave a table to go to the bathroom are often not sure what to say.  Please try this:  Would you mind if I went to the restroom?  Would you mind if I answered this call?  So it is going to be “Would you mind if…” plus some past tense of a verb.

More Grammar Stuff – “So” vs. “Such a”

Almost every foreign student makes this type of mistake over and over and over again.  Basically, you use “so” with an adjective  and “such a” with an adjective and noun.

She is so beautiful!                     She is such a beautiful woman!

He is so fat!                               He is such a fat guy!

That book is so good!                 That is such a good book.

Please practice because it drives me crazy when people make this type of mistake.

18 essential vocab words  Fill-in-the-blanks

a magician, a role model, to shave, to donate, sideburns, chronic, asceticism, to justify, to pervade, to panic, liberal, to chop, inspired, to be preoccupied, to slaughter, to glimpse, a sacrifice, a deli

Basically, the Republican political party in America is conservative and believes that what is good for business is good for America; the Democratic political party is ___________ and believes that business should be regulated through strong laws and there should be lots of social programs for people.

____________ were very popular in the 1960s and 70s and suddenly came back in the 1990s when men became inspired by hairstyles and facial hair from those decades.

Young boys love sports activities, but athletes are sometimes not good _______________ for these children.  Athletes often cheat, fight and argue with officials or get involved in drug scandals.

Bob was very sad to read about the suffering of the Japanese people after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  Therefore, as poor as he was, he ____________ a little bit of money to try to help the survivors in Japan.

Initially the pain in my back came and went.  However, when the pain became _____________ I knew I needed to go to a hospital and find out what might be wrong.

Asian parents tend to have a reputation for making any type of ____________ for the sake of their children and their children’s education.

I was hungry, but I didn’t want to eat a huge meal, so I stopped off at my neighborhood _________ and bought a ham and cheese sandwich.

I haven’t seen too many celebrities in New York City.  Once, however, I caught a _____________ of Hugh Grant as he was entering a hotel.

Joe had to admit that he had not been a good husband or father lately because he was so ________________ with his work. 

In the old days a ___________ used to make small objects disappear or pretend to saw (cut) people in half.  Now magic tricks have become complex theatrical spectacles.

When a Buddhist monk ___________ the hair off of his head, he is making a statement that personal appearance is of no real concern to him.

Vegetarians and even more radical (extremely liberal) vegans object to the way that many animals are ______________ for food.

The guillotine was a device created during the French Revolution which _____________ off the heads of people thought to be traitors (not faithful to the Revolution).

The flag of New York City was _____________ by the flag of Holland since the first European settlers here were from that country.

Although Bob realized that the brakes on his car were not working, he did not _____________.  He simply slowed the car down by taking his foot off the gas and pulled over to the side of the road.

Hedonism is the philosophy that the best life is a life of continuous pleasure.  To the other extreme is _____________: the belief that pleasure is evil or that it can corrupt (make a person immoral, dishonest) a person.

Even though it is terribly inefficient and slow and unreliable, the subway system ___________ New York City; you can get just about anywhere in Manhattan by subway.

Although some people feel that the war with Iraq could be _____________ because we removed a dictator from power there, others point out that there was, honestly, no good reason to attack that country.

Answers: liberal, sideburns, role models, donate, chronic, sacrifice, deli, glimpse, preoccupied, magician, shaves, slaughtered, chopped, inspired, panic, asceticism, pervades, justified,

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